Associated Press photo
Amber Riley from the Fox TV show “Glee” performs before the All-Star game Tuesday.
To strike a balance somewhere between remembering “The Boss” and marveling at the strikeouts racked up by baseball’s radar-busting throwers — all while popping the cast of “Glee” and cramming in another “Dinner For Schmucks” commercial — Fox’s production team had a wisk of past, present and promotion during Tuesday’s MLB All Star game telecast from Angels Stadium.
Thankfully, things didn’t get too schmucked up.
The overlaying news about the passing of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner did not weight down the game’s enjoyment, but it was hardly ignored in classy ways.
In the pregame ceremony, Fox play-by-play man Joe Buck read from a script that asked the crowd to “pause to remember the life and legacy of one of baseball’s most iconic figures,” as a photo montage of Steinbrenner was shown.
During a moment of silence, the Fox cameras captured the quiet reactions of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi.
Buck and McCarver brought it up again during a live interview with Girardi from the dugout in the top of the fourth inning, and reporter Chris Rose had more in a live chat with Jeter during the top of the seventh.
That was the inning when the NL started chipping away at the AL’s 1-0 lead, putting the focus back onto the contest. All for the better of the telecast.
Buck waited until Fox signed off in the postgame before saying that the network dedicated the telecast to Steinbrenner, with touching video clips of him.
What else smoked, choked or otherwise spoke to our need for documentation:
== Fox may have stretched the boundaries of Anaheim residency when it closed the game with a highlight montage behind Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” Really?
== The beauty of the MLB Network’s 24/7 presence was that on Tuesday it allowed for an extended tribute on Steinbrenner, with many live and significant interviews, while also maintaining a lighter tone with the festivities leading up to the Fox telecast.
Joe Torre, who managed the New York Yankees for 12 seasons under Steinbrenner, was on for about 10 minutes reminiscing by phone with Bob Costas, Peter Gammons and Tom Verducci. Torre said that during his time in New York, he felt his main job “was to try to keep as much distraction out of the clubhouse and for the most part, I thought the players were able to just concentrate on the game.”
Or, kind of what he does now with the Dodgers when it comes to ownership issues.
== Fox reporter Eric Karros seemed more pumped up than Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton after the victory.
Broxton did his usual litany of clichs to describe the win before stalling and admitting: “There ain’t many words to say.”
Karros, the former Dodger shot back at him in a loud voice: “Shoot, you’re smiling, man, that’s some emotion!”
== It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the need for a center-field camera shot, but does America really need to see more of agent Scott Boras on his cellphone standing in full view behind home plate during every pitch?
Where was Pat Sajak displaced?
== During a third-inning discussion about how hard all the pitchers so far were throwing, McCarver said that this seemed like a game that could have started in the fourth inning since all the batters were going down so quickly.
“Especially with what’s going on (with the sun and shade) behind the pitcher and the hitter’s backdrop,” said Buck.
We begrudgingly accept that TV dictates starting times of all major sporting events, and the 5:40 p.m. first pitch here was a function of an extended pregame as well trying to make it as East Coast prime-time friendly as possible.
But would the game do a better service to players and fans if West Coast All Star games could wait until the sun set behind the stadium, or change them to afternoon game?
At least the cameras’ iris wouldn’t have to shift back and forth from bright sun to dark shade, faking out viewers as well as players.
The best example of it was a replay of Albert Pujols shown in the top of the second reacting to how difficult it was to see from the batter’s box – putting his fingers to his eyes and pursing his lips.
“Yeah, have a nice night, have fun, enjoy yourself,” Buck said sarcastically.
It finally ended as a true night game under the stars, which finally matched up to Fox’s lead-in – a scene from Griffith Park Observatory, featuring a dad and his son looking through the giant telescope.
So here’s an observation: Orange County doesn’t have its own observatory?
== Tightest pre-game entertainment: The MLB Network’s programming included a feature on the 40th anniversary of the 1970 All Star Game, which ended with Pete Rose crashing through Ray Fosse in the 12th inning with the NL’s game-winning run.
Said Rose in a recent interview on the play: “Yeah, I could have avoided him, but we might still be playing . . . I would do it today if I was playing.”
The piece included an interview with Torre, on the NL team representing St. Louis, who pointed out: “If you look at the game footage, you can see me trying to see if Fosse was all right. Being a catcher myself, you certainly sympathize with that.”
Sure enough, there was Torre, from the other team, rushing out to see Fosse, who suffered a fractured bone in his shoulder but didn’t know it.
== Why did it sound if McCarver was ordering the carne asade special at El Cholo restaurant when he enunciated the name of NL starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez in the pregame? He then sang the praises of the top NL pitchers, but when put on the spot by Buck, stammered into admitting that he thought the AL would win.
== McCarver said it after Jeter was announced for his first at-bat with a recorded version made by Bob Sheppard, who died at the age of 99 last week, just days before Steinbrenner: “Rest assured, that there will be two more monuments added to Monument Park at Yankee Stadium next year.”
Nice thought, except the Yankees gave Sheppard his own plaque there 10 years ago.
== A rather frivolous KTTV-Channel 11 half-hour pregame included at one point a live shot outside Angels Stadium where reporter Al Naipo said: “We’ve got a few protesters here, but that’s to be expected . . . but it should be a great evening.”
Behind him in the camera range was a sign: “Boycott Arizona! Repeal SB 1070!”
That could have ramifications on the playing of the 2011 All Star game in Phoenix, if the reporter really wanted to pursue a real story.